I began publishing video online in 2006. I didn’t plan on that becoming a career, or the launching point of a “personal brand” (what’s that?) back then, but timing + insight worked well for me.
Within 24 months of first publishing content, I made first contact with an emerging but now-familiar species: online trolls.
Troll (via Urban Dictionary): Someone who deliberately pisses people off online to get a reaction
Trolls are normal in the basketball world (which made up 99% of my video content from 2005–10) for a simple reason: any male who’s ever even watched a game thinks he knows the game really well. Every dribble, dunk and jumpshot I posted was a magnet for possible derision — though, I should note, the overwhelming majority of the feedback was positive.
Human nature has it, though, that we notice the negative much more easily and remember it for longer.
I remember when someone posted one of my vids to their Facebook profile and tagged me. “Here’s a cool move by Dre Baldwin.”
It was me in an empty gym doing some one-on-none moves. Those empty gym drills are how I learned the game, and how “DreAllDay” and “Work On Your Game” got established.
Regardless, some fat guy (based on his profile photo on Facebook) wasn’t impressed. He commented, “any good defender would easily stop that crossover and block the jumpshot.”
I didn’t respond. The post was on someone else’s page, after all, and the guy wasn’t actually talking to me anyway. But I’ve always remembered that comment by this big-boned fellow. I just chuckled thinking about it while writing this.
I learned something really interesting about comment sections, and by extension, people, over the years: The people who are inclined to leave comments online are very susceptible to group dynamics.
In other words: when the common tone of the comments is positive, you get more positive comments. When the general tone of the comments are negative, those same people will instead leave negative comments.
The broken window theory strongly applies to internet comments.